Friday, July 12, 2024

Happy Valentine’s Day. (Photo: smilla4 via Flickr)

Tired of the same old flowers and candy but it’s 5 o’clock on Feb. 14?

Times have changed! Valentine’s Day isn’t some “Mad Men” type day when a beleaguered husband grabs last-minute flowers and candy for a stay-at-home wife! Even the concept of a “couple” has changed. As a 62-year-old divorced straight able male heterosexual, I’m an expert on navigating this updated holiday for the updated relationship.

For the couple: You can simply say that V Day is a heteronormative, binary construct of late-stage capitalism. Real love is shown by keeping the relationship unaffected from corrupting societal influence.

Also, you’ll get huge bonus points if you grab some flowers from a guy at a traffic light.

For the throuple: There is much to be learned about love from the “Goodfellas” mobsters going all the way back to the 1920s! Valentine’s Day was taking the primary spouse out for dancing, flowers and a beautiful dinner at your favorite restaurant … The next night’s set aside for dancing, flowers and a beautiful dinner at the same restaurant with the not-primary spouse. Twenty dollars keeps the staff from mixing up names or slips of the tongue.

(It is best to strike the word “primary” from your vocabulary during these 24 hours. I use it only because I haven’t come up with anything else.)

For the foursome (or two couples): Easy! Double date or swear that you tried to set up the double date, but the other couple didn’t want to complicate the dynamic.

For a polycule of five or more: Set up a ranking. I prefer Excel, but many use Apache OpenOffice. If you have this type of relationship, you are already familiar with spreadsheets and at least one type of scheduling software.

No. 1 is a dozen roses, subtract one rose per ranking spot. A single alibi for all of them is easiest to keep track of. (Sick aunt? Protest of a local university’s policy in the Middle East got out of hand, and the police put you in the squad car for an hour to “cool down”? And the campus police squashed the protest … that’s why there’s no record of it and why you couldn’t call.) Bonus points if you grab some flowers and present the person the appropriate number of roses for their ranking.

Be sure it doesn’t get into a shared file!

Or “gray rock” and ghost the whole day. This might also be a good night for self care! Maybe a “date with yourself”? Just flowers and a movie?

None of this works if you are a 62-year-old divorced straight white able male heterosexual, whose ex listened to Miley Cyrus and realized she could buy herself flowers.

Rick Jenkins is inventor of The Comedy Studio, opening in Harvard Square in May or June.